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Keyboard Builders' Digest / Editorial

Behind the scenes #163

Keyboard projects, quick news, in the mailbox, meetups, new vendors and discount codes!

Published April 29, 2024
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Hey, what's up everyone!

Welcome back for another weekly recap and behind-the-scenes write-up.

If you are new to, you can read how this started out and what this is all about nowadays. If you like what you see, subscribe to the newsletter (free) and donate some bucks to keep this otherwise free and ad-free project alive.

Some music while reading? Mike's split BR/KN was named after Broken by Seether:

Some posts worth sharing

Pic: Mission control

Mission control

  • An MX-compatible replacement PCB for the Model M122: M122ION CONTROL by dj_edit – with buzzer, solenoid, display, etc.
  • A modular keyboard prototype for full VIK experience: Trio by zzeneg.

Pic: Trio


Pic: Ballz Out

Ballz Out

Pic: NewType-36


  • Protieusz shared Ballz-Out, a Lesovoz style ortho board with trackball and trackpad support, which I forgot to post last week. And NewType-36 is here already, a derivative of the nowt36 – with trackball too.
  • Mike Barnoski published his first open-source keyboard: the minimal split BR/KN with trackballs on both sides.

Pic: BR/KN – bottom view

BR/KN – bottom view

Pic: Lego macropad

Lego macropad

  • Handwired: dove36 by doedelsson, a skeletyl/reviung41 hybrid.

Pic: dove36



The ZodiarkPi has nearly endless combos of screens, encoders, keys, touchpads, and VIK Modules.

Pic: ZodiarkPi


  • Closed source: Tukon is a Chocofi-derivative with per-key RGB.

Pic: Tukon


  • Teaser: Neo Ergo – a tented Alice is Neo's fourth product. Yummy!


Pic: Neo Ergo

Neo Ergo

Keyboard art



I've created some Mechanical Keyboard themed picture frames! They come in 5x7 or 4x6 and feature lots of switches that you can put keycaps on to display a message. You might have to get creative when picking what to say on the frame with a limited amount of characters – Jack.

Pic: MK picture frame

MK picture frame


Keymap wizardry – New layout design series

So I figured it wouldn't make sense to publish articles without some basic set of tools. Good news: I'm making good progress.

I want the articles a bit interactive. If you are interested in creating your own layout you have to be able to do it in your browser, with just a few clicks thanks to the carefully selected default parameters. If there's a layout referenced in the article, you have to be able to click its name and get to a full, interactive report or comparison. With the option of selecting the corpus, altering the ruleset, etc.

If, after reading any write-up, you'd like to test, create, analyze any layout, you have to be able to do that.

That's what I'm working on right now.

There will be a related article on Drop, published tomorrow I guess, which is simply the condensed SpaceFN article. But I can't wait to bring these apps to an acceptable level and then start churning out the articles on keymap design here on

In the mailbox

I needed some variety in keycaps and found these huge but affordable MDA sets by Akko. The white and black sets, double-shot btw, have 564 caps altogether. :D Even better, the accented caps are different: those of the white set are more on the pastel side, while the ones accompanying the black set are bolder and more vibrant. FYI, the black set looks a bit nicer and crisper imo, at least the basic alpha caps.



Actually, the caps were my choice, but Akko sent me some switch "samples" too. Thanks a lot! Enough for any boards in my review schedule, I just need to decide now which one to use e.g. on the Glitters.


Yep, two Glitters from MoeeTech are here, and I'm pretty impressed. It took almost two months for the package to arrive, so some minor issues have been fixed in the meantime. I was informed that new customers receive an improved bottom foam and the ribbon cables should come in a pre-shaped form now? (It required some decent origami skills earlier.)

Pic: Glitter65 case – openings for the USB hub and card reader

Glitter65 case – openings for the USB hub and card reader

Anyway, it's beautiful, but I need some more days for the full review. However, if you can't wait, there's a 30% discount now (use the KBDNEWS coupon) so it starts at just $111.

Oh, and I almost forgot: they come with these light bags. Black for the dark ink blue one and beige for the white board.

Pic: Glitter65 with matching bags

Glitter65 with matching bags

Meetup database

Recently added:

As always, this meetup database is both a calendar and an archive so feel free to send me upcoming events or even ones from the recent past to make this collection as comprehensive as possible.

Vendors & Discounts

Feel free to use the KBDNEWS discount code at 150 keyboard shops! And do not hesitate to report any issues.

New shops and updates to the database of keyboard vendors this week:

  • Keyoo Keyboards is a shop in Germany. 5% off with the KBD-Keyoo coupon code. (I asked José the update the code, hopefully it will be the standard KBDNEWS soon.)
  • Thaze Makes – wooden wrist-rests from Texas.
  • Chilkey from China(?). They may be associated with Wuque Studio, but I haven't received any feedback yet.

Pro Micro hack

OK, so it seems my ancient Pro Micro article, written probably in 2018, became some kind of reference in Arduino circles – dispite being written with keyboards and QMK in mind, and not even working with the default Arduino bootloader. The firmware keeps trying to use the LEDs on those ports, triggering keypresses when using Arduino.

I was contacted be a reader and will have to extend that article with some Arduino specific stuff, but I don't have any working Pro Micros laying around to test fixes. Feel free to point out any issues or suggest some solutions.


For all the donation options check out the donation page!


  • My hosting provider made a major update in the backend which killed the search function. Still working on figuring out what happened. It seems it works again.
  • Working on various layout optimization tools.


That's all for today. Thanks for checking by. As always: Keep learning and building!

Until next time,

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Published on Mon 29th Apr 2024. Featured in KBD #163.


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